On January 13, 1833, President Andrew Jackson wrote Vice President Martin Van Buren expressing his opposition to South Carolina's defiance of federal authority. He closed with the assertion, "nothing must be permitted to weaken our government at home or abroad."
The Nullification Crisis of 1832-33 erupted the previous November when South Carolina nullified a federal tariff that favored Northern manufacturing over Southern agriculture. Complicating matters, Jackson's vice president at that time, South Carolina native John C. Calhoun, firmly believed states had the right to overrule federal laws. South Carolinians agreed and planned to use armed force to prevent duty collection in the state after February 1, 1833.
Calhoun developed the idea of nullification—first put forth in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798—as a strategy for the South to preserve slavery in the face of a Northern majority in Congress. His support of the measure, disclosed midway through his term, was not shared by President Jackson who feared nullification's power to split the Union. This difference of opinion permanently distanced the president and vice president.